Everyone has stages in their life when they have been courageous. It could be in a relationship or in a job. It could be as simple as negotiating with a car salesman. Write down a list of these moments, times when you acted braver than you thought you could. Some of these you may take for granted because you didn't recognize them as courage at the time; you were merely doing what had to be done. Others may surprise you. But once you look at them all together, there's always a pattern. You got obsessed with something you really wanted. Or you were concerned for another person. Or you knew you had the skills. You might have been scared to death, but you got up and did it. And here's the secret: Once you see the common denominator, you start to realize, "I know what motivates me. I can do this again, in different situations." Your use of courage ripples out. You start applying it in more and more areas of your life.
5. Remember to Stretch
If you want to live a life that's courageous, you've got to stretch, and to stretch means: When I can't, I must. Every time you say, "I can't do it," you're going to immediately say, "I must do it." This is simple idea. I heard it first at age 16 from a close family friend named Art Williams. At the time, I asked, "Does that mean if I can't jump off the cliff, I must go ahead and jump?" He said, "You're not a stupid person, Tony. Don't be stupid. It means if you find yourself saying I can't do something, but you know it in your heart of hearts that if you do it you're going to grow, you're going to be a better person, it's going to contribute to your family or to your kids or to something that matters, and you keep saying I can't do it, there is no question—you must do it. You don't discuss it anymore. You just take immediate action. You make the phone call. You step up in front of the room. You raise your hand. You do what's necessary." And I said, "That's not a very safe life." And he said, "If you want safety, go to prison. If you want a fulfilled life, you've got to step up."
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